So you’re thinking about a sail on Irene but not sure what to expect?  Well, hopefully we can give you an idea!

Sailing Irene

On deck, Irene has been kept as original as possible with regards to her sailing rig.  This means our guests enjoy an authentic sailing experience, as it was when Irene was built at the start of the 1900’s.  Hoisting and trimming sail, hauling up the anchor and even helming this fabulous old girl can be hard, physical work which we would love you to get involved in.  However, this is your holiday and we want you to participate only to the extent that you want to.  Sit back and enjoy the ride or dive in and start flexing those muscles.  It’s entirely up to you!

There are plenty of opportunities to contribute as part of the crew even if you don’t fancy the physical stuff.  On longer passages we run a watch system that ensures the ship is safely manned at all times.  This may involve being posted as look out, getting involved in the navigation or just maintaining an anchor watch.  On these longer runs, we operate the watches 24 hours a day.  Sailing by starlight is something everybody should experience at least once in their lives even if you don’t always fancy it when you are roused from your bunk at two o’clock in the morning!

Whatever you get involved with, you will be given full instruction and supervision from one of the crew.  Our watches are run by either our skipper or first mate with an experienced deckhand always available as well.  Their passion is giving you an exciting and memorable holiday but their first priority is always the safety of the guests, the crew and the ship.  The night watches also provide a fabulous opportunity to hear the tales from the crew of their sailing exploits and the history of Irene.


Below decks, Irene is anything but traditional in her layout.  En suite cabins were certainly not the order of the day back in 1907, when Irene was built!  You will be allocated to one of these cabins when you arrive on board.  They are equipped with all the necessary bed linen but we do ask guests to bring their own towels.

Cabins are allocated to guests by our skipper when they arrive on board.  Please be aware that single guests may be asked to share a cabin with other solo travellers if the make up and number of guest parties means this is necessary.

All meals are provided on board by our ship’s cook, Rachel.  This would normally include a cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Wine or beer are also available.  Further refreshments are provided throughout the day and often include freshly baked cakes from the galley.

Safety and Welfare

Your safety and welfare is the overwhelming priority on board Irene.  Lifejackets and harnesses are provided for every guest with full instruction on their use.  We will also carry out a full safety briefing when you first hop on board.  Irene is fully coded by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for use as a charter vessel and has all the required fire fighting and life saving equipment.  Our crew is fully trained in first aid and we carry a comprehensive medical kit on board.

Because of the risk of fire, we have had to prohibit smoking anywhere on board Irene, including on deck.  Electronic cigarettes are permitted to be used on deck and we have found that these can make life more comfortable for those who regularly indulge.

We do carry a stock of waterproof jackets and trousers on board but sizes are limited.  We must also make you aware that you risk looking like a banana in them!  Many guests prefer to bring their own as they find them more comfortable (and flattering!).  We strongly recommend bringing some sailing gloves if you have any aspirations to be pulling on ropes.  Blisters and rope burns can ruin a trip and are easily avoided with the right equipment.

Sea boots are ideal when the weather turns foul.  If you aren’t a regular sailor, wellington boots (or other waterproof boots) can be equally effective although we do recommend several pairs of thick socks, as cold feet can be particularly miserable on a wet night watch.  Even in great weather, night times can be chilly.  We recommend lots of layers, with material such as fleece being great for providing maximum warmth without being too bulky.  Don’t forget a good hat and warm gloves as well!

When the weather is fine, trainers or casual shoes are completely suitable as footwear.  You will also find a pair of sunglasses essential if the sun does make an appearance.  Polarised ones are particularly effective at sea although any sunglasses will do.  You may also want to bring some sun tan lotion.  At sea, the power of the sun is magnified so if you’re normally a ‘factor 20’ person, you may want to consider moving up a few levels, in terms of protection.

Finally, we must remind you that your glamorous evening wear is best left at home!  Fine jewellery has a habit of falling off and ending up over board and stiletto heels are completely forbidden since they go through our decks like a knife through butter!